1965 Citroën DS19 Pallas £39,995
This DS19 was restored in Portugal and France; now it’s for sale in North Yorkshire. Rob Scorah test-drives a rather fine example
Restored in Portugal and France in the 2000s, this Pallas was driven from Porto to North Yorkshire in 2011. Since its import, it has been used sparingly, only in good weather, and carefully stored. Certainly that Blanc
Carrare coachwork (the original colour from a bare metal respray) looks to be in very good order. The finish is very even, and panel gaps are consistent and narrow. Likewise, the chrome parts look to be in excellent condition. But if you look hard enough, there are tiny cracks in the rubbers above the rear indicators.
Anecdotal evidence (the car’s own records are sketchy) suggests €60,000 was spent on genuine Citroën parts, which isn’t difficult to believe.
The DS’S underside is as clean as the coachwork. It has been rustproofed, galvanised screws have been used and a stainless steel exhaust fitted. The suspension, brakes and hydraulics also underwent a rebuild. There are no worrying damp patches or stains around tubes or knuckles. Apparently the correct steel hub caps were sourced at some great expense.
The engine was also rebuilt (as was the gearbox), and lifting the beak-like bonnet reveals a tidy, authentic-looking motor – it’s the three-main-bearing 2.0-litre. There are some blemishes to the paint in the offside wheelarch, but there are no signs of leaks and the radiator looks new.
The interior is a treat for fans of any form of design. The seats were retrimmed in the correct Rouge Carmin Jersey Rhovyline fabric and white leatherette. The rear blind looks to be an authentic replacement and works fine. There is minimal wear to seats or carpets though there is a tiny bit of dirt in the corners at the base of the A-pillars.
The moderne dashboard, steering wheel and door furniture look original, with the faintest of wear. That patina somehow gives the car a more authentic feel.
Driving this most iconic masterpiece is slightly surreal. The ride is smooth in that slightly dreamy Citroën way, yet the car feels assured on the road; Citroëns can be an acquired if enthralling taste – lots of movement but also ‘connectedness’. The brakes can be a bit abrupt if you stand on the button too forcefully, but that’s as it should be – they bring the saloon convincingly to a halt from speed.
Changing gear through that hydraulically assisted, steering-column-mounted gearshift is an art form, but transitions are smooth and power take-up progressive.
With all those moving pistons and compressed liquids, there are a few sucking noises and hisses, but nothing to indicate worn pushrods or knuckles. There are no whines from the transmission.
This Citroën is as enthralling to drive as it is too look at. It’s a shame there isn’t a more documented history to go with the restoration, though it would be hard to doubt the authenticity or the standard of the work done. Magical.
This DS is an excellent drive, though there’s no paperwork for the restoration
Interior is a mix of restored and original
Rebuilt engine looks tidy and provides a smooth drive